Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Day

The biggest box under the tree is for me!

Wow! Star Wars Legos! I love it!

" Ma Baby"

Christmas Morning

Singing Christmas songs

It was a nice christmas. On Christmas eve we went and saw light festivals and toured well-lit neighborhoods. We enjoyed a nice Lasagne dinner at Grandma's and I made peanut butter fingers to snack on all day.

We filled the "white stocking" for Jesus with good goals for the coming year. I think the kids understood it for the first time. A wants to write in her journal once a month and J wants to memorize a scripture.

We gave out books, chocolates, crafts, mixed nuts, clothes, a fishing license, and games to our loved ones. Santa brought oranges and m&m's like he always does, and the gifts under the tree left twinkles in the kids eyes.

Dad- movies and book "Get Smart" and "The Tales of Beedle and Bard".

Mom- movies: Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and What's up Doc

A-6 years old. An art kit with mixable markers, glitter paints, crayons, construction paper, colored paper, scrapbook scissors, regular scissors, and two Tiara Club books.

J-4 years old. A fire truck and a star wars lego ship.

A-1 years old. A baby doll and a noisy sounds and lights toy.

Holiday Baking

Despite how busy this time of year is, I've had a chance to try lots of new holiday recipes. Here are the favorites:

Wassail Mix:

My kids don't really love hot chocolate, so this is a good substitute after playing in the snow.

2 cups orange flavored drink mix
6 TBS lemonade flavored drink mix
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingreadients and mix well. I use 2 Tbs mix with one cup of hot water, but experiment to your tastes. Keeps up to 6 months. Enjoy!!

Traditional Chex Mix

try baking it in the oven the old fashioned way, it smells soooo good.

School Lunch Peanut Butter Fingers

So we were craving these and much to our dismay, could not find just the right recipe on the internet. "You're kidding!" I said, I've seen these things at every church social my whole life, are they just an old Mormon recipe no one else knows about? So I tried looking through the old ward cookbooks. Sure enough! I'm glad I bought one.

3/4 c margarine
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
3/8 tsp soda
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c oats
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c peanut butter

6 Tbs water
1 lb (3 3/4c) powdered sugar
1 cube margarine
4 Tbs cocoa

Mix ingredients in bowl. (I found it easier to melt butter and peanutbutter first and then add the eggs last when it was cooled a bit.) Pour into a sheet cake pan and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool, then frost with chocolate frosting.

A sad farewell...

After nearly eight years of pancakes, muffins, cornbread, omelets, grilled cheese sandwiches, cakes, casseroles, perfect calzones, breadsticks, meatballs, chicken nuggets, and lots of other goodies, all cooked perfectly in less time than my oven takes to preheat (about 3-10 minutes). The GT Xpress has worn itself out. I'll miss you little friend. (sniffles)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

About Christmas...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? wrapping paper
2. Real tree or Artificial? artificial, let the real ones keep on growin’.
3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend.
4. When do you take the tree down? New Years.
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but I always thin it down, full strength gags me.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I mostly remember looking forward to a toy called fashion plates where you could design your own dresses and color them and any barbie doll stuff.
7. Hardest person to buy for? My husband, he goes out and buys everything he wants before Christmas.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Mother in law, she likes books which are easy to get and thinks whatever you get her is special.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? not this year.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? E-MAIL!!!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? a five pound (or something ginormous) candy cane, I felt compelled to eat it even though I don’t even like candy canes.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Its A Wonderful Life.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November usually.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, but always the gift bags.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Panetone (Italian Christmas Cake) I can’t believe Dwight and Sarah don’t like it!!!
16. Lights on the tree? Yes, and I totally miss bubble lights, I priced them out this year and they are a small fortune, but maybe someday...
17. Favorite Christmas song? Joy to the World, Sleighbells, O Holy Night, Feliz Navidad.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I like staying at home, but we always have fun when we travel too.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Of course!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Shopping frantically for twenty people who all say they don’t really need or want anything...
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? In addition to the nativity, I like snowmen, penguins, snowflakes, and candy canes. I steer clear of all Santa stuff.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? We don’t traditionally have dinner on Christmas, but for Christmas we’ve enjoyed authentic German, Hispanic, Spanish, Mongolian, and other various homemade masterpieces by the talented members of my family.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I asked for new carseats, but I’m getting some of my favorite classic movies which will be a lot more fun.
26. Who is most likely to respond to this? I don’t know, this is just for fun.
27. Who is least likely to respond to this? Everyone who reads this after Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

Seasons Greetings!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Everything Under the Sun by Wendy DeWitt

Here are highlights from the excellent food storage class I went to this week.

For the full transcript of the presentation go to or
check BYU-TV in February under speaker Wendy DeWitt.

Wendy has a very simple 1 year food supply. She has bought and stored all the ingredients to make her favorite 14 meals 26 times and 7 breakfasts 52 times. In addition she has stored enough food to make a loaf of bread per day for the third meal and also cakes, cookies, rolls, pies, and brownies for snacks. Her food storage has a minumum shelf life of 3 years (meats mostly, most stuff is much longer). The other clever part of her system is that she is able to cook all of it w/o electricity "under the sun" in her solar oven.

Tips for storing everyday foods your family eats.
Wheat grinder: You must have one! hand ones are nice for power outages, electric are nice for everyday use.

Food Saver w/ jar sealer attatchment: Nuts, raisins, brown rice, candy, chocolate chips, baking mixes, etc will last 3-5 years rather than just months. You can stock up when there are sales. This is really the heart of what makes Wendy's food storage so yummy. Regular things with short shelf-life now last long enough to be in long-term food storage. The Food Saver is expensive, but deals are usually available on used ones, the attatchment runs about $10.

Pressure cooker: bottling fruits and veggies is a lot of work, but meat can be raw packed. Put it in the jar. When you process it, it gets cooked perfectly. Stock up when meat is on sale, then you have all these easy meals just waiting in your food storage. Wendy uses two jars of meat a week and rotates her years supply every 3 years. She can do 50 lbs of meat in one day. That is probably enough for the year...

solar oven: These are cool and I didn't know they existed. Apparently hundreds of thousands are used world wide. This along with our propane grill would have us pretty prepared to cook food in a power outage. The solar oven cooks in any temperature of whether as long as there is sun you can cook. She says her oven preheats in about 30 minutes to 350. So she can sterilize water, boil, and bake with it. It might take longer to preheat in cold whether, but not too much. Her friends had a nice warm meal on a ski trip in 18 degree weather. The trick is to adjust it every 45 minutes so that it is always facing the sun. She cooks breakfast and then a big meal. After the big meal she does a loaf of bread and then you don't have to worry about cooking at night when there is no sun...

Friday, November 14, 2008

October pictures

J, J, and little A bobbing for apples!

I did it!

Food for a kid halloween dinner, "Mummy Dogs"

Food for the parents, "Monster Fingers", calzones with olive fingernails. Dip it in pizza sauce.

Poor baby is always so tired. Our schedule has gotten less hectic and she is back to two naps a day after skipping her morning nap for two months. Maybe now there is a chance of her sleeping through the night for real!

Uncle C gives little A her first piano lesson the day before he gets married. She thoroughly enjoys it.

words from my kids

J said this morning, if I meet Joseph Smith in the spirit world, guess what I am going to tell him? That we had a movie about him and his wife Emma at our house!

AJ is a pretty patriotic 6 year old. She really enjoyed the veterans day program at her school this week. It was one of the few times I got to hear any comments about school besides how recess went. She told all about the four visitors and the different jobs they had done in the military. She also likes the daily pledge of allegiance and Mondays, when they sing the national anthem during announcements. She often has short prayers where she prays for nothing but our family and the soldiers.

Every night before bed I have AJ and J read a book to me. little A doesn't like to be read to, but she spends lots of time pretending to read herself. She moves her finger across the pages and pretends to sound out words "ah-ah-uh-oh". She looks up at me like "see mom, its not hard at all!" Last night J read the book "I See". Little A picked up a board book, began pointing and with great pride and satisfaction and said "I-see-see!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The story I wrote about Obama two years ago...

I was touched to see the historic moment of an african american being elected president. It hadn't really struck me how significant an event it would be until it happened. Anyway, in Februry 2006, I was writing a sci-fi story, there was a little blurb about a president. The rough outline called for a president named Joe (maybe Joe Biden, eh?), but when I actually wrote it, I used Barack Obama as the theoretical president, here is the quote:

Chapter Three
Deshawn Golightly had never even seen the President before, and now he was going to get a private interview.
“The President will see you now” announced a young aide in a crisp blue suit with lots of badges around her neck.
Deshawn, a short, young looking man with spiky straw-colored hair, followed sluggishly, struggling to be impressed by all the official mumbo jumbo he had passed through. Entering an unfamiliar conference room a handsome looking man with light brown skin and a winning smile rose to meet him.
“Hello” said the young spiky-haired man stepping forward unexpectedly and missing his cue to shake hands, “I am Deshawn Golightly and you are the President of the United States, I assume. You know I don’t normally make house calls on politicians, but your invitation intrigued me, so I thought I’d drop in. I guess since I haven’t done anything heroic lately to earn a Presidential Commendation, you probably called me in for a favor, so what can I do for you man?”
The President stared wide-eyed, the introduction he had planned on making still stuck in his throat. He had never been approached so casually in his entire political career. It felt good though. Deshawn was making this as easy as simply asking a next door neighbor to borrow a hammer. The president grinned, “Call me Barry, and yes there is something you could do for me.”
“That’s the spirit Barry. All those folks out there had me thinkin’ you were stuffy, but you seem alright man. So whacha want?”

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Tsuvan (tsoo-vahn) is a staple Mongolian dish taught to me by my dearest companion from Ulaanbataar, on Christmas Eve of 1997. A holiday season hasn't passed since then that I don't crave this meal. My family has come to enjoy it as well. The recipe isn't available by searching the web although a year or so ago I was delighted to find a tourist had made a snapshot of his plate of tsuvan during a trip to Ulaanbataar and posted it where I could find it on the web.

I made Tsuvan today to celebrate my birthday. To the best of my abilities to recreate it, here is the recipe. To be authentic, it would probably have lamb instead of beef, but oh well. Also, there would be no broccoli since it doesn't exist in Mongolia. Also, the way the noodles and veggies are steamed is an important element in what makes this taste Mongolian to me.


• 3 cups flour
• ¾ cup water (add 1-3 Tbs additional if needed)
• 1 egg

• 1 1/2 lbs steak
• ½ medium onion, diced
• 1-2 tsps salt
• ¼ -½ tsp pepper or to taste
• about ½ cup water
• 3-6 cups shredded cabbage
• 2 cups chopped carrots
• 2 cups chopped broccoli (optional)
• 2-4 Tbs oil
soy sauce

1) Noodles: make dough with 1 egg, 3 cups flour, 3/4cup water. Dough shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry. Divide into 3 fist sized balls and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

2) Stirfry: cut steak into strips. Coat the bottom of a very large pan (I used a large soup kettle) with oil (olive oil is good for the steak). Turn heat on medium and begin browning meat. (Make sure you have a tight lid for later). Season the meat.

3) Noodles: roll the balls out in thin circles like pie crust (don’t use flour though). when its thin and coat generously with oil and fold it over every 3” like cinamon rolls. Set aside.

4)Stirfry: slice carrots and onions add them to meat add 1 cup of water to cover them, maybe a bit more to avoid burning. cover and cook 4-5 minutes. Then add cabbage and with about 1 tsp of salt. More if there is a lot of it.

5) Noodles: slice the noodle dough in ¼” strips to make noodles. Add broccoli and then noodles to the pot. Drizzle with 2-4 Tbs of oil (I prefer canola for this) Season with salt to taste. Cover tightly with a lid and let it steam on medium heat 13-15 minutes. Be careful not to let the bottom run dry and burn the steak. Use a fork to separate noodles. Serve with soy sauce.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My baby just turned 15 months old and I think she wants to be a toddler now. She started talking and walking all at once. I decided the newly walking stage is one of the cutest things ever. I am also amazed by the words that kids learn. My little one doesn't say too many words really clearly, but she can say "baby", "ball", "hi" and this weekend she learned "i-pod". It was so funny, grandpa held her on his lap and let her listen to some songs on his i-pod and she just curled up and listened with so much delight. Later she saw an i-pod commercial come on tv and she ran up to the screen which she has ignored all her life and started yelling "pod!, pod!, pod!". The first thing she said upon waking the next day was "pod" because she saw mine sitting on my nightstand.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Little Witch

Little Witch (A Harper Trophy Book) Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a delightful chapter book for reading aloud at Halloween. I read it to my 4 and 6 year old. It is about a little witch who wishes she wasn't a witch. It is humorous to read about a girl who has to sneak around in order to go to school, wash her clothes, or even take a bath. It is also full of fun potions, fairies, enchantments, and broomstick rides!

View all my reviews.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pretty N' Pink

My preschooler was sick today and had to miss "Pink Day" at preschool. They were learning about pink stuff and the author/illustrator Bill Peet. We made the September recipe of the month pink cookies and watched Cinderella (Bill Peet animated Cinderella's mice). It was a pretty fun homeschool day, if I don't say so myself. The cookies were beautiful, my son loved the fact that they smelled like Yogos fruit snacks. I'd make the changes noted below to please kid taste buds better, but overall a really fun recipe to make with kids even as is.

Pretty N’ Pink Cookies

1 (18.25 oz) strawberry cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I'd cut it back to 1/3 cup oil and add 1/4 cup of flour)
2 eggs
1 cup white chocolate baking chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; mix well. Stir in baking chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 12 minutes. Cool 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack. Allow cookies to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen.

A Color Wonderful Birthday

We decided to do a rainbow-art party with friends. The highlight was our edible art project: decorating rainbow cupcakes and ice cream cups. We had rainbow sprinkles, rainbow licorice, rainbow kissables, mini m&m's, and licorice ropes. Of course our birthday girl made a little masterpiece. I think we chose the right theme for her special day. We also had fun with a Kitchen Magic show where we did science tricks with food coloring and birthday balloons.

First Day of School

He was soooo excited to start school he couldn't sleep and woke up very early, he hated waiting the extra half hour after dropping big sister off to go. Sister has already had a year of school, so it wasn't quite as big of a milestone, but for him this day was huge. His hair was pretty crazy, its too long to wear spikey now, but for this one day we let him do it anyway.

Okay, she was excited too. The big excitement of the first day was RECESS! She has spent every recess since school started on the monkey bars. When we ask about school that's usually what she mentions. Today was my first day of school, I got to volunteer in the class for half the day, I really loved it.

I helped the kids with writing and drawing. I noticed that all the girls are wayyyyy ahead of all the boys.

This picture made me laugh. I thought I was taking the baby's picture, but as it turns out I got "Samurai Jaxson" instead.

Tomato Season

My 13 month old baby loves the garden produce. She sneaks a bite or two out of veggies left on the counter whenever she gets a chance. Her favorite is tomato, she'll eat the whole thing if she can, but she seems to like cucumber and pepper too.

We came home from Dallas to 40lbs of tomatoes!
Tomato, Pepper, Cucumber season menu:
Pasta Salad
Stuffed pepppers
Homemade spaghetti sauce
Homemade tomato sauce
Tomato soup
Cucumber & Tomato salad
Sandwiches with tomatoes

Family Reunion Pictures

Grandparents, Great Grandpa, and most of the grandkids

The baby girls!

All my siblings!

Pictures from Dallas

This was my last picture before the camera broke, all the pictures since then are "shots in the dark"

The kids sure enjoyed polishing their shoes with grandpa

Monday, September 1, 2008

Engagement Announcement

My brother is getting married! A few days after his thirtieth birthday, ha,ha.
His fiance is from Wyoming. They met while attending the University of Wyoming, but never dated during college. She looked him up while working as a junior high school teacher in Price, UT and then moved to Okalahoma where he is currently living and well... the rest is history.

This Old House

The Brown Hotel, built 1902, restoration begun in 2004
This house is full of memories for me. My grandparents lived here when I was little, but it was abandoned for nearly 20 years, home only to birds and stray cats. Now Cindy and Blake Angell are restoring it!!!!
The house in its new location, I miss the trees!

The living room, beautiful!

The Brown Hotel, built 1902, restoration begun in 2004 by Cindy and Blake Angell!!!!
They are keeping a history of the home and have asked for any special memories or spiritual experiences, etc that you may be willing to share in connection with the home.
The back porch serves as a beautiful dining room!

there is a gate at the top of the stairs that kind of matches the rails and makes the stairs more toddler proof, I thought it was clever.

The old shelves of canned fruits are replaced by an upstairs bathroom

The Brown Hotel/Hale Home
The Brown-Hale house was moved from its original location in Fairview about 3 years ago to Auburn, Wyoming. When it was moved the foundation was raised several feet so that the ceiling height of the basement would be 10 ft like the rest of the home. Currently the basement serves as a garage which you enter from behind, but the family hopes to convert it into living space in the future. The rear entry which used to contain a freezer has been converted into a dining room and the upstairs fruit storage room has been converted into a bathroom. The floors are all original hardwood. The only carpeted room is the loft which makes a beautiful family room just as we always imagined! The fireplaces where removed to make room for electrical and plumbing conduits. I enjoyed touring my grandparents restored historical home with Matt & Lanita Rodabough because Matt is a carpenter and could really appreciate the orignal carpentry detail.